Posts Tagged ‘grain elevators’

UP: Cloud Skunked; BNSF: Sunshine

July 17, 2022

Everything was in place to get a killer photograph of an eastbound train on the New Castle District of Norfolk Southern in Seven Mile, a small town in Southwest Ohio north of Hamilton.

Train 25A was waiting on the main for a meet with westbound manifest freight 174, which would go into the siding.

We had set up along a rural road to get a view over a cornfield of the 25A passing a grain elevator on the south side of town. We had earlier gotten a side view of the 174 on the north edge of New Miami.

The rear of the 174 rumbled past and we waited in anticipation of seeing the ditch lights of the lead unit of the 25A come on to indicate it was on the move. A bonus was the three Union Pacific locomotives lashed together elephant style that were pulling the 25A.

This is an intermodal train that originates at Calumet Yard in Chicago and carries a block of containers that NS gets from the UP. It also carries blocks of manifest freight.

We waited, and waited and waited. It would be 45 minutes before the dispatcher directed the 25A to continue east. We don’t know why the train didn’t leave sooner.

But as we waited what had been a few decorative clouds grew into additional and larger clouds.

You’ve probably figured out where this story is headed. By the time the head end of the 25A reached the grain elevator the sun had ducked behind one of those clouds.

We got cloud skunked.

I made some photographs anyway, one of which is the top image above.

We chased the 25A to Hamilton and managed to get an image of it coming around a curve in good sunlight. It was nice but not the image we had wanted to get.

After getting lunch at Subway, we returned to our location along that rural road at Seven Mile and waited for another eastbound.

Nothing was moving so we headed north. Along the way we got wind that the 189, a Detroit (Oakwood Yard) to Atlanta (East Point) manifest freight was coming.

The 189 would go into the siding at Seven Mile to meet the westbound 282, a stack train running from Jacksonville, Florida, to Chicago (Landers Yard).

The 189 had a BNSF leader and a Ferromex unit as a rear DPU. The nose of the Ferromex locomotive was pointed outward.

By now we were into high sun and harsh light time but that wasn’t going to stop us from chasing and photographing the 189.

We got it on the north side of Collinsville, Ohio, and then got into place to do the grain elevator shot at Seven Mile.

It wouldn’t be the same composition as earlier with the 25A because the sun had shifted to favor the other side of the former Pennsylvania Railroad tracks.

The clouds had also thinned a bit and we got plenty of direct sunlight as the 189 came rolling past the elevator.

With that we headed north and managed to get the 282 at Eaton.  I would catch one more train, the 142, at Conley Road northwest of Eaton before calling it a day and heading home.

The Green of Spring

May 6, 2021

I’m standing on a rural road bridge east of Milford Junction, Indiana, where the CSX Garrett Subdivision crosses the Marion District of Norfolk Southern. The trees are getting buds and leaves as an eastbound CSX manifest freight tools along on former Baltimore & Ohio track. I believe that both railroads serve the grain elevator looming in the background.

Cruising South in Columbus Grove

April 15, 2021

A southbound Indiana & Ohio manifest freight rolls southbound past the grain elevator in Columbus Grove, Ohio. The train is on the Toledo Subdivision of CSX.

It will leave CSX tracks in Lima and get back onto the original Detroit, Toledo & Ironton where it will tie up in the yard.

The original DT&I track between Lima and Leipsic has been abandoned except for a short stretch in Ottawa.

The image was made on April 13.

No Work in Newman Today

March 8, 2021

The covered hopper on the siding is evidence that the grain facility in Newman, Illinois, is served by the Decatur & Eastern Illinois Railroad. But train 101 has no work in Newman today and is merely passing through. The image was made on Feb. 27.

When In Doubt Look for a Grain Elevator

November 24, 2020

I was chasing a light power move of the Decatur & Eastern Illinois when I find myself in the tiny Hamlet of Camargo, Illinois.

I wasn’t sure what I would find but most towns in central Illinois have a grain elevator next to the railroad tracks.

I don’t know if the D&EI serves this particularly elevator but I do know it hauls a lot of agriculture commodies.

It just happened that none of them were moving on this particular job, which featured a pair of SD40-2 locomotives.

The heritage of this route is Baltimore & Ohio. At one time it extended from Indianapolis to Springfield, Illinois.

Most of the line is abandoned west of Decatur, Illinois, and within Indiana.

Red Nose in Edgerton

November 5, 2020

Norfolk Southern eastbound ethanol train 64R passes the grain elevator in Edgerton, Ohio, on the Chicago Line this past Tuesday.

Since ethanol is derived at least in part from grain, it seems suitable to capture an ethanol train passing a grain elevator.

The Canadian Pacific leader on this train would not stay in that position past Toledo where an NS unit with cab signals was put on the point.

Thus when the 64R passed through Northeast Ohio en route to Reybold, Delaware, it had an NS leader.

The trailing unit in the image above is a CSX locomotive.

Grain Elevator Complains About CN Service

August 13, 2020

An Indiana company has complained to the U.S. Surface Transportation Board about what it termed service reductions by Canadian National in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kingsbury Elevator of Kingsbury, Indiana, told the STB in a filing that lack of deliveries from CN forced it to shut down.

The elevator, which distributes canola meal, corn gluten meal, gluten feed pellets, and fertilizer, said the service issues caused it to lose business.

The filing said CN had been providing daily switching but reduced that to three times a week.

At the same time CN began having a local based in Battle Creek, Michigan, handle the switching of Kingsbury Elevator. A local based in South Bend, Indiana, had been doing that work.

Kingsbury argues that CN has violated its common carrier obligations and failed to provide proper notice of the service reductions.

It also claims that CN has given it inaccurate bills for demurrage and no pull charges.

In response, CN asked the STB for a 30-day extension to respond to the complaint.

It said that during that time it will seek to resolve the matters with Kingsbury, which CN said has indicated a willingness to talk about the service issues.

Kingsbury is seeking damages and wants CN to honor its service commitments.

This Time I Got it Right. Or Did I?

July 29, 2020

Back in mid June I stopped in Arcola, Illinois, to photograph Amtrak’s northbound Saluki passing a massive grain elevator complex.

My objective was to recreate an image I had made here of that train in August 2012.

Since then the P42DC locomotives used to pull the Saluki have been replaced with Siemens SC-44 Charger locomotives.

My June photograph was not bad but not quite what I had wanted.

I had not spent enough time checking out the photo angles and the arrival of the train caught me by surprise and out of position.

I had to scramble to get across the street and into position and ended up photographing the train a little too soon. It was more grab shot than planned image.

Last Sunday I was again in Illinois hunting trains to photograph. I timed my trip so I could get Amtrak’s northbound City of New Orleans shortly after sunrise in Rantoul and then catch the northbound Saluki three hours later.

This time, I did it right. I checked out various photo angles well before the train arrived.

As is typical, Train No. 390 was running a few minutes late when it left Mattoon, its previous station stop.

Having ridden this train numerous times when I used to take Amtrak from Cleveland to Mattoon to visit my Dad, I knew about how long it took the train to reach Arcola.

Soon there was an LED headlight in the distance and I got into the position I wanted to be in. No. 390 was not going to catch me off guard this time.

The grain complex in Arcola that I wanted to feature is laid out in three rows.

There is a row of silos, some of then concrete, next to the former Illinois Central tracks. There is another row of metal silos to the west of those and a third row on the other side of U.S. Route 45.

Without having a drone you can’t get all three rows of the complex in a photograph with an Amtrak or Canadian National freight train.

The top photograph above is the best of the images I made as the northbound Saluki rushed past last Sunday.

Pleased with what I’d captured, I declared it “mission accomplished” and moved on to find something else.

But a funny thing happened as I was writing this post and started comparing the 2012 image with the photographs I made this year.

That June image is far more similar to the 2012 photograph than is the July image.

You can see for yourself. The middle image above was made in June and the bottom image is the August 2012 photograph I was trying to duplicate.

My opinion of an image can change as I work with it. What looked good on the screen on the back of the camera doesn’t look so good when the image is downloaded onto my computer and projected onto the large screen that I use.

Of course I’ve seen it happen the other way, too. I’ve also begun to warm to a photograph as I processed it in Photoshop and eliminated some of its “imperfections” through cropping and adjusting such things as color, tone and shadows.

In a direct comparison of the August 2012 and June 2020 images, I still give a decided edge to the 2012 photograph in terms of quality.

The 2012 rendition does better at encompassing the enormity of the grain elevator complex and the light is a little less harsh. The latter is probably the difference between photographing in June versus photographing in August at approximately the same time of day.

You may notice that in 2012 the service building to the right had white siding whereas six years later it is tan.

There is another footnote to the comparison of the June and July photographs. In June, No. 390 was carrying a Heritage baggage car in order to meet a host railroad imposed minimum axle count for Amtrak trains using single-level equipment.

But by late July the Heritage baggage car had been replaced by a Viewliner baggage car. In neither case was checked luggage being carried in that car.

All three of the images create a sense of place and do a nice job of contrasting the size of the grain complex with that of the train.

We tend to think of trains as large objects, which they are, but it is all relative to what you compare their size with.

The way that grain complexes loom over trains adds to the drama of the photograph by creating contrast.

My original theme for this post was that last Sunday I got the photo right in a way I had not done it in June.

But once I started comparing the June and July images I began seeing that really wasn’t true. That June photo was more like the August 2012 image than I had remembered.

Ultimately, it wasn’t so much about getting it right versus getting it wrong, but how I felt about what I had just created when walking away from the scene.

Upon further review, there are reasons to feel good about all three images. Although they may be similar all three have their own character that I found pleasing. Each comes with its own set of memories of the trip on which it was created.

Choosing The ‘Marty’ Perspective

November 15, 2019

Late last month I was chasing an excursion train on the former Detroit, Toledo & Ironton from Springfield to Lima, Ohio.

The passenger train had a stop signal at Quincy, where the former DT&I, now the Indiana & Ohio, crosses the CSX Indianapolis Line, former a New York Central route.

CSX had two trains to run. The first was the Q348, which is one of those monsters of the precision scheduled railroading era that had a cut of double-stacked containers, a cut of auto racks and a string of manifest freight.

It would cross over at Quincy to get out of the way of the Q008, which is still an intermodal-only operation and a priority train.

I had to make a decision as to where to photograph the Q348. I could walk a short distance and frame it passing a tree with good fall foliage or I could catch it passing the grain elevator.

“Well,” I said to myself, “what would Marty Surdyk do?”

Marty is known for his affection for grain elevators and you can easily see above how I answered by that question to myself.

This One is For Marty

August 9, 2019

If you know anything about Marty Surdyk you know about his passion for photographing trains and grain elevators.

So I thought about him as I captured this scene of Amtrak’s southbound Saluki passing a massive grain elevator complex alongside the former Illinois Central mainline in Arcola, Illinois, that is now owned by Canadian National.

A few years ago I had shown an image during an Akron Railroad Club program of the northbound Saluki passing this same complex.

Marty had liked the photograph and said so. So, Marty, if you’re watching, this one is for you.